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Earlier this year at Openworld, Oracle execs laid out a bold vision a decade out where enterprises ran everything in the cloud, but for the near future, a hybrid approach may be the best path to a digital business.

A recent study by IDG Research Services, in conjunction with EMC, found that the agility provided by hybrid cloud, combined with reduced IT costs, enables investment in digital transformation. The survey of more than 900 IT executives found that technology decision-makers fully understand the stakes attached to digital transformation: 92 per cent of IT and business leaders said their organization’s competitive strategy calls for digital business initiatives, and 90 per cent called digital business “a top IT priority” for the next one to three years. Approximately 44 per cent said it was their number one priority.

Meanwhile, the primary driver for digital technology investments was improving the customer experience at 87 per cent; 86 per cent cited acquiring new customers and 82 per cent said increasing innovation was a critical goal.
In terms of progress, however, there is still work to be done. The IDG study said on average, participants are 63 per cent of the way to achieving their initial digital business goals and that their current infrastructure is 65 per cent ready to support new digital technologies.

The obstacles enterprises face are not unfamiliar, either: thirty per cent of polled IT executives named fragmented computing environments and 29 per cent pointed to a lack of the right technologies. An even greater 38 per cent cited a shortage of budget and resources.

The global survey did include Canada, and Mike Sharun, country manager for EMC, said an interesting finding was that even with the diverse nature of businesses here as well as resource heavy industries and large public sector, Canada was inline with the global results. “It really shows as a whole Canada is trying to turn the corner,” he said, referencing Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s recent public comments regarding the country’s need to embrace technical innovation and changing the world’s perception of Canada. “Canada’s not behind.”

Globally, 50 per cent of respondents are running workloads on hybrid clouds, said Sharun, but Canada is above average at 70 per cent, which shows there is a pent up demand for the country to be more of an innovator. Overall, hybrid cloud has come of age. “It has become a cornerstone of organizations.”

There still are a few laggards that are ignoring what’s going on in the market, he said, but it’s not a significant percentage. Organizations that have a large number of customers and process a high volume of transactions tend to be a head of the curve. “Every industry has a disruptor,” said Sharun, which prompts the acceleration of hybrid cloud adoption. Change tends not to happen as fast in regulated industries, however.

And while cost savings is a benefit of hybrid cloud, “most businesses are looking for agility.” Sharun said digital transformation means organizations, regardless of industry, be it a bank or resource company, need to think of themselves as a software company. “Your competitive advantage is only as good as the software you have,” he said. “You have to be an innovator. Hybrid cloud gives you the agility.”

When asked for his thoughts on Oracle’s vision of an all-cloud enterprise, Sharun said he’s not one to say things are going to disappear. “When I started out 33 years ago, people told me not to get involved in mainframes because mainframes were dead. The main frame is still alive and well and prevalent in IT,” he said. “The cloud is about enabling IT as a service and I believe IT as service is going be how everything is done in the future.”



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